Report finds NJ State Police not following training agreement
TRENTON — The New Jersey State Police is not fully adhering to a racial profiling consent decree in the way it trains recruits and current soldiers, according to a state comptroller report.
At the Comptroller’s Eighth Periodic Review of State Police, an oversight required in the disbanding of a Federal Comptroller, investigators cited issues with how instructors were selected and differences between training and curriculum for the latest use of force policy. .
“This report and others I have published show that the New Jersey State Police can do more to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the consent decree and to ensure the maintenance of constitutional order,” Acting State Comptroller Kevin Walsh said.
“Effective training of soldiers by dedicated instructors committed to this mission – setting the right tone, discouraging racial profiling and ensuring that policies involving the use of force are followed – is essential,” said Walsh.
The review found:
- Instructors are eliminating entire segments of classes and reducing a seven-hour class mandated by the attorney general’s office to two hours.
- Temporary or “detached” instructors, who represent about 20% of training staff, are not checked as rigorously as permanent ones, which is contrary to the accreditation decree. Some “seemed to show a lack of interest in teaching”.
- Twelve of the 59 were subject to disciplinary investigations and four to discrimination investigations. Among them, one was being investigated for sexual harassment and using his position to intimidate or gain favors, and another was being investigated for racial profiling and harassment.
- Soldiers with questionable disciplinary records—including those suspended for drunk driving, assault, and falsifying reports—were selected to be soldier trainers.
Among the 131 coaches with disciplinary records were suspensions for domestic violence, DWI, failure to take proper police action, falsifying records, theft and inappropriate actions toward another soldier.
- Most lesson plans are updated every year or two, but some have been delayed by seven and 14 years.
- Some soldiers do not receive the rank-specific training they must undergo when promoted. Fifteen percent of soldiers with the rank of sergeant or higher had not received the necessary training, which should ideally take place six months before promotion.
The report recommends 11 changes.
State police did not comment on the report, and the attorney general’s office told NJ Advance Media that it plans to work on implementing the suggestions.
The comptroller’s report says he reviewed the recommendations he made during his fourth periodic review that were also related to training and found that two had been implemented but two had not.
Michael Symons is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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